Three Aurora Victims Died Shielding Others

Sometimes on Twitter I search #realmen just to see what comes up. It’s kind of fascinating. Most of the time, the tweets are from women wishing for a particular type of boyfriend, such as “#RealMen let their ladies hold the remote” or something stupid.

This weekend there was one tweet that showed up over and over again, also with the hashtag #MuchRespect:




The New York Daily News offered a tribute to these three men as well:

In final acts of valor, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves used their bodies to shield their girlfriends as accused madman James Holmes turned the Aurora cineplex into a shooting gallery.

Blunk’s girlfriend, Jansen Young; McQuinn’s girlfriend, Samantha Yowler; and Teves’ gal pal Amanda Lindgren made it out of the bloodbath — but they would have been killed had it not been for the loves of their lives.

“He’s a hero, and he’ll never be forgotten,” a tearful Jansen Young told the Daily News of Blunk. “Jon took a bullet for me.”

She was too distraught to speak more, but her mother called Blunk, 25, who had two young children from a previous relationship, “a gentleman.”

These men are heroes for protecting the person they love with their own bodies, and their own lives. It tears me in half to think about it, knowing my own husband would do the same thing for me, but also knowing that I would want to protect him as well. I cannot imagine what those last moments were like for anyone in that theater, but to know that for some their final moments were spent thinking about someone other than themselves is both heartbreaking and reassuring about human nature.

While I think there are about a billion different kinds of #RealMen in this world, we want to send #MuchRespect to these three men, and all of the victims and survivors from the Aurora shooting.


Editor’s note: This post will be highly moderated. Please keep commentary about these men and their girlfriends respectful and on-topic. *Further discussion about society’s expectations of men’s sacrifice will be held at a later date.* Thank you. 


Photo of Jon Blunk courtesy of Blunk Family

About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and editor with a special focus in issues facing raising boys and gender in the media. Her work has appeared on Redbook, Yahoo!, xoJane,,, and more. She and her husband are outdoor sports enthusiasts raising very active sons. She is currently co-editing a book of essays for boys and young men with author and advocate Jeff Perera. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.


  1. I am also in awe of the selflessness these men demonstrated while faced with danger. And yes, we should talk more about these people and their heroic deeds and learn from their examples. May God comfort the bereaved.

  2. Mark Neil says:

    Thank you, Joanna, for writing this tribute. With all the articles using this event as catalyst to discuss the evils of men, it is important to show the good of men as well.

  3. The same was true of columbine. As in this case it was also exclusively males protecting females (but in this case high school children).

    Yet, all we hear is about toxic masculinity. I’m really sick of simplistic gender arguments that conflate dysfunctionality with masculinity making headlines.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Honestly watching one of the videos where they interviewed jensen young made me cry. These guys are truly amazing and admirable for their actions and I’m sure that the people they saved will never forget. RIP heroes.

  5. Tears for their sacrifice…Thank you for writing this, Joanna…

  6. Mika Doyle says:

    Thank you for writing about this story, Joanna. I somehow missed this coverage amidst all of the other coverage. Much respect to these young men for what they did that night.

  7. Conde J.Peoples says:

    In my eyes the Men who shielded their respective partners were more than just “good men”,They Are Heroes!!

  8. To the guy above me: Does it really matter if it was just a couple of dates, or a life partner? The point is the guys sacrificed themselves to save another human being. The length of time they knew that person has nothing to do with their heroic actions. To be the thing that stands between chaos and safety and to die protecting another human being will always be honourable and noble, not idiotic.

    Moderator’s note: this comment is in reply to a violating comment that has since been removed.

  9. Copyleft says:

    I respect anyone who risks (or in this case, sacrifices) their life to save another.


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